Thursday, April 18, 2019

Potawatomi Wives


The 26 eclectic-genre short stories for my #AtoZChallenge are excerpts from travelogue notes by
novel character Gahlen, who first appeared in SHARDS OF MEMORY – Oral History in a Heartbeat.

Each A-to-Z daily post is a complete, stand-alone tale.

Potawatomi Wives
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
(326 words)

Born to a highly respected Potawatomi chief, she was considered an excellent mate for a younger chief. That she had sisters who were also of marriageable age added to her attraction. Soon she and one of her younger sisters were the first of the chief’s brides.
She gave birth to the first of his offspring, a boy and two girls, before her sister began to reproduce. That allowed her to have the most say in events that accepted a woman’s participation. In 1826, her final decision as his wife was to refuse to burden him with her continued presence when the threat of annihilation swept the plains of Wisconsin.

The old woman turned to her young companion. “That squaw saved our people by risking her own life to warn us of a dangerous storm brewing.”
As the girl gazed toward the clouds, the woman smiled.
“Not a rain storm,” she said. “Many government officials want to disband our nation. They are spreading untruths about an uprising among the different tribes. If they convince the white population that we are dangerous to their existence, the true uprising will be against our people.”
“Is that why grandfather is taking all of our fathers and brothers away?” the girl asked.
“Yes. It is no longer safe for them to remain in open areas where the government is stirring up trouble. They must band together in smaller units to ward off devastating attacks from enemies unknown.”
“But when will they return for us, grandmother?”
“Oh, dear child, I fear we must expect to live out our lives away from the sheltering shadow of our great chief. He cannot preserve our heritage while burdened with worries over the likes of us.”
“Are we not as important to him as all the others?”
“Quite the opposite. We are far more important to him because he trusts that we will survive without his constant surveillance. Our inner strength is, in fact, his salvation.”



  1. Interesting story that could lead to a larger work. I did want you to know that I had a lot of trouble reading this on my iPhone with the background design and colors. Others might, too.

    1. Thank you for visiting, Alana. Sorry to hear you had trouble reading this.

  2. Having spent three weeks volunteering on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning MT back in 2005, this brought to mind many ancient stories told by the elders. Well done!

    DB McNicol, author
    A to Z Microfiction: Parachute

  3. Donna, this is based on a true story of Chief Mexico in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. I had fun researching and writing the article. Your experience sounds like a full book of information well worth recording.

  4. I have to dig "For Every Action" out of the Amazon archives and read it again. I remember it was set near Chicago. I grew up in Rogers Park, and remember there was a Potawatomi Park in either West Ridge or West Rogers Park that lots of my friends used to go to, and I know by reading Dr. Neil Gale's excellent blogs that the Potawatomi had lived in that area. Did you live nearby?

    John @ The Sound Of One Hand Typing

  5. John, I lived in Wisconsin (Manitowoc County) and near Chicago but now reside in Hawaii. Yes, "For Every Action" is set mostly in the Chicago Loop where I worked in 1968.

  6. So terrifying and true. To know what was coming and be so unable to do much about it. And worse, as a reader, to know how horribly that will turn out.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

  7. At least some restitution has occurred for descendents; and, hopefully, some lessons learned.

  8. I am having trouble reading this on my phone also. Some lessons never seem to be learned.

    1. Yes, it seems that some adjustments are in order but I just know if I attempt to do it during AtoZ that I will mess something up and lose all my posts or delete the blog site completely so I have a Catch-22. Agree, Kristin, after age seventy, I find some lessons take longer to learn.


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